J. V. Stalin

The Break with the Cadets

September 6, 1917

Source : Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

The Kornilov revolt had not only a bad side; like everything in life it also had a good side. The Kornilov revolt was an attempt on the very life of the revolution. That is unquestionable. But in attempting to kill the revolution and stirring all the forces of society into motion, it thereby, on the one hand, gave a spur to the revolution, stimulated it to greater activity and organization, and, on the other, revealed the true nature of the classes and parties, tore the mask from their faces and gave us a glimpse of their true countenances.

We owe it to the Kornilov revolt that the almost defunct Soviets in the rear and the Committees at the front instantaneously sprang to life again and became active.

We owe it to the Kornilov revolt that everybody is now talking about the counter-revolutionary nature of the Cadets, not excluding those who only yesterday were "convulsively" seeking agreement with them.

It is a fact that, "after all that has happened," even the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks no longer consider coalition with the Cadets permissible.

It is a fact that even the five-man "Directory" set up by Kerensky had to dispense with official representatives of the Cadets.

One would think that breaking with the Cadets had become a commandment with the "democratic" parties.

That has been the good side of the Kornilov revolt.

But what does breaking with the Cadets imply?

Let us assume that the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks have broken "finally" with the Cadets, as members of a definite party. But does that mean that they have broken with the policy of the Cadets, as representatives of the imperialist bourgeoisie?

No, it does not.

Let us assume that at the Democratic Conference which is to open on September 12 the defencists form a new government without the Cadets and that Kerensky submits to the decision. Will that mean that they will have broken with the policy of the Cadets, as representatives of the imperialist bourgeoisie?

No, it will not.

The French imperialist republic provides numerous examples of how the representatives of capital, while remaining out of the cabinet themselves, "admit" petty-bourgeois "Socialists" to it, so that they themselves might operate behind the scene and through the hand of others, and plunder the country without let or hindrance. We know from history how the financial bosses of France, by appointing "Socialists" (Briand! Viviani!) to the head of cabinets, while themselves hiding behind their backs, have successfully carried out the policy of their class.

It is quite possible to conceive the existence in Russia, too, of a non-Cadet cabinet which would consider it necessary to pursue a Cadet policy as the only possible one, owing, say, to the pressure of Allied capital, of which Russia is becoming a tributary, or to other circumstances.

Needless to say, if the worst came to the worst, the Cadets would not object to such a government; for, after all, does it make any difference who carries out the Cadet policy, so long as it is carried out?

Obviously, what matters is not the personal composition of the government, but its policy.

Therefore, whoever wants to break with the Cadets really, and not only ostensibly, must first of all break with the policy of the Cadets.

But breaking with the policy of the Cadets means breaking with the landlords and handing over their land to the Peasant Committees, regardless of the fact that such a measure would be a severe blow to certain all-powerful banks.

Breaking with the policy of the Cadets means breaking with the capitalists and establishing workers' control over production and distribution, regardless of the fact that it would mean encroaching on capitalist profits.

Breaking with the policy of the Cadets means breaking with the predatory war and the secret treaties, regardless of the fact that this measure would be a severe blow to the Allied imperialist cliques.

Are the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries capable of such a break with the Cadets?

No, they are not. For if they were, they would cease to be defencists, that is, advocates of war at the front and of class peace in the rear.

That being the case, what does the incessant clamour of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries about having broken with the Cadets amount to?

To a verbal break with the Cadets — nothing more!

The fact of the matter is that after the collapse of the Kornilov conspiracy and the exposure of the counterrevolutionary nature of Milyukov's party, open agreement with that party has become extremely unpopular among the workers and soldiers: the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries have only to enter into such an agreement and they will lose the last remnants of their former army in a twinkling. Therefore, instead of an open agreement they are compelled to resort to a masked one. Hence their clamour about having broken with the Cadets, which is intended to cover up the backstage agreement they have made with the Cadets. For appearance's sake—down with the Cadets! Actually—alliance with the Cadets! For appearance's sake—a government without the Cadets! Actually—a government for the Cadets, home and Allied, who dictate their will to "the powers that be."

But it follows from this that Russia has entered a period of political development in which open agreement with the imperialist bourgeoisie is becoming a risky business. We are now in a period of governments of social-defencist, non-Cadet composition, whose mission it is, nevertheless, to carry out the will of the imperialist bourgeoisie.

The "Directory" which appeared on the scene the other day was the first attempt to create such a government

It is to be anticipated that the conference appointed for September 12 will, if it does not end in a farce, attempt to create a similar, and presumably "more Left" government.

It is the duty of the advanced workers to tear the mask from these non-Cadet governments and expose their real Cadet nature to the masses.


Rabochy Put , No. 3, September 6, 1917